Guest conductor Nickolas Carlson and the Olympia Chamber Orchestra (OCO) will showcase young artists Gabriel Ong and Andy Phan, winners of the Olympia Music Teachers Association (OMTA) piano competition. OCO will play Ravel’s Ma Mere L’Oye (Mother Goose Suite) and Beethoven’s First Symphony. Andy Phan will perform the first movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto Number 20, and Gabriel Ong will present the third movement of Kabalevsky’s Piano Concerto No. 3 “Youth”. In keeping with giving OCO’s commitment to give Olympia audiences the opportunity to hear small ensembles, the program includes Schumann’s Marchenerzählungen (Fairy Tales) for piano, viola and clarinet.
Each year OMTA holds a competition for young pianists, and OCO gives the winners the opportunity to play with an orchestra. Each remarkable musician receives a small honorarium. Olympia Federal Savings sponsors one student and the Randall Johnson Scholarship fund supports the other.
Here is what Maestro Nickolas Carlson has to say about the music in this concert:
Each unique work in this concert flamboyantly celebrates youth.
Ravel’s genius instrumentation and atmospheric writing in Ma Mere L’Oye (Mother Goose Suite) brings to life stories that are fantastically portrayed: Sleeping Beauty, Tom Thumb, The Green Serpent, and Beauty and the Beast.
Marchenerzählungen (Fairy Tales) by Robert Schumann is a collection of short “fairy tales” with no known literary parallel to any written fairy tales. Each movement is Schumann’s colorful soundtrack to miniature stories that each listener creates for themselves.
Beethoven’s first venture into the symphony showcases his ingenuity, his understanding of the music of the Classical era, and predicts his eventual crossing into the Romantic era.
Kabalevsky’s Piano Concerto No. 3 “Youth” is an exciting romp through the joys of childhood. The piece was written for, and dedicated to, young performers in the Soviet Union. Mozart’s Piano Concerto 20 is a dark and stormy piece (one of only two piano concerti in a minor key). It provides the perfect contrast to Kabalevsky’s raucous concerto. Of course, the two fantastic young piano soloists on our concert remind us of the true joy of youth. Andy Phan and Gabriel Ong shine when they play their respective concerti, and delight all of us.
Nickolas Carlson, guest conductor, received his Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting from Wichita State University, Kansas and his Bachelor of Music in organ performance from Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas.
While studying at Wichita State University, he participated in performances of operas as an assistant conductor and as a music director. In summer of 2017, he was Assistant Conductor for Dido and Aeneas at Chicago Summer Opera.
Nickolas Carlson is the founder and music director for Central Kansas Concert Opera, a non-profit opera company. Their twofold mission is providing opportunities to young musicians, and exposing new audiences to operatic performances.